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Deals & Dealmakers

WHO’S NEWS: Stephen Jacobs joins Herrick Feinstein, William Barrett named CFO at GFI Capital

GFI Capital Resources Group, Inc. announced that real estate industry veteran William Barrett, CPA, has been named the company’s chief financial officer (CFO).

In this role, Barrett will oversee all financial, operations, asset management, human resources and information technology functions for the GFI and its affiliates.

Barrett brings to GFI nearly two decades of experience at some of the real estate industry’s most prominent firms, where he was responsible for overseeing the entire range of financial and operations activities, including budgeting, administrative policy-making and corporate consolidation activities.

His professional background includes positions as CFO of Edward S. Gordon Company, a leading New York City brokerage that was acquired by Insignia Financial Group, which itself was ultimately acquired by CBRE; chief operating officer (COO) of Newmark Knight Frank, where he was also in charge of all financial functions; COO and CFO of GVA Williams, which, during his tenure, was acquired by Colliers International; and chief administrative officer of LeFrak Organization, where he led operations for the firm.

Barrett received a BBA in Accounting from Pace University, and is a certified public accountant in the State of New York.


Patricia (Trish) Giaquinto has joined NAIOP New Jersey as Chapter Administrator and Executive Assistant.

She will replace Kathleen Keating Iola, who is retiring.

Giaquinto will manage office operations and provide support to the CEO.

Her responsibilities include interaction with vendors, processing general inquiries, coordinating with IT consultants, event registration, Board meeting backup, maintaining calendars, ensuring adherence to operating procedures and governance policies, and more.

She previously served as Director of Marketing and Operations for Professional Women in Construction in New York City.


Herrick, Feinstein LLP announced that Stephen C. Jacobs, a senior hedge and private equity fund executive, and former corporate lawyer for three Am Law 100 law firms, has joined the firm as partner and co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Department.

Jacobs’ fund experience spans a variety of asset classes and industries, including real estate, media, entertainment, telecommunications and technology.

Most recently, he served as chief operating officer, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Spectrum Group Management, a distressed credit and real estate hedge fund and private equity fund.
He will continue in these roles at Spectrum, in addition to co-chairing Herrick’s Corporate Department.
Prior to joining Spectrum, Jacobs was a corporate partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, where he advised private equity and hedge fund managers in the real estate and TMT sectors.

Before that, he spent eight years in senior operating positions at portfolio companies sponsored by the private equity funds Quadrangle Group and Wasserstein & Co. Previously, he was assistant general counsel at AIG.


BDO announced that Russell Field is the new Global Head of Real Estate & Construction at the public accounting, tax and advisory network.

Solly Benaim has retired from the position following 39 years at the firm to pursue a career in advisory and non-executive roles.

Benaim led BDO’s UK team since 2001, and has created one of the leading real estate advisory practices in the country with over 200 specialists advising the industry.

He has also overseen the growth of BDO’s global real estate operations, which now has revenues of over $550 million across the world.

Field, a UK audit partner with over 30 years real estate and FTSE listed experience, will lead the team through its next stage of growth focusing on delivering specialised assurance, tax and advisory services to support the evolving needs of the real estate market.


Royal Properties, Inc. announced that Rick Stassa has joined their team as a commercial real estate broker.

Previously with Friedland Realty, Stassa has been a licensed real estate commercial broker in New York since 1992.

He has worked with such national tenants as Raymour and Flanigan, Rainbow Apparel, Storage Deluxe and Popeye’s – Louisiana Kitchen.

He also has completed numerous transactions with strong regional companies such as VIM, S@A stores and Praxis Housing Initiatives. Stassa has also exclusively represented many landlords.

Stassa is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, has an MBA from Fordham University and an undergraduate degree from Lafayette College.


AmTrust Title Insurance Company announced that James Thanasules, Esq., a commercial real estate title insurance veteran with more than 19 years of experience, has joined the Company as Chief New York State Agency Counsel.

Thanasules will contribute to the growth of AmTrust Title’s agency division by aligning and familiarizing the New York agency market with AmTrust Title, including the Company’s reputation for providing title customers with high quality customer service, innovative technology and solid financial support.

Prior to joining AmTrust Title, Thanasules served for nearly two decades as Vice President and Senior Underwriting Counsel for the New York Agency Division of First American Title Insurance Company.
n addition to underwriting activities, Thanasules will continue to regularly present CLE and CE courses.

He earned a JD degree from St. John’s University School of Law, and a BS degree in accounting from St. John’s University.


A. Mitti Liebersohn, Avison Young President and Managing Director of the firm’s New York City office, announced the hiring of Howard S. Aaron.

Aaron will join Avison Young as Senior Director in the New York City office, working in the firm’s retail services group. The industry veteran will bolster the growing practice.

A nearly 30-year veteran of the retail industry, Aaron has worked with various owners and tenants, including Clinton Housing Development Corporation, Stonehenge Partners, Stellar Management, Jamestown Properties, as well as Starbucks, Chase, Cold Stone Creamery, Commes Des Garcon, Aseop, Ipuddo, Totto Ramen, Sushi of Gari, La Bergomote, Gothic Cabinet Craft, Allstate, The Marshal, Rustic Table, and Sterling Optical.

Prior to joining Avison Young, he was a partner at Square Foot Realty, LLC. Prior to that, he worked at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and Northwest Atlantic Realty Services.

Aaron received a B.A. in industrial design from Pratt Institute.


CBRE Valuation and Advisory Services Group announced that Anna Urquiza, a professional with three decades of commercial real estate experience, has joined the company in the newly created role of Director of Americas Quality & Risk Management.

In this role she will implement and drive the Global Quality and Risk Management Strategy for the Valuation and Advisory Services (VAS) business line throughout the Americas.

Urquiza will also oversee the management of CBRE VAS Company and Appraiser licensing requirements in the Americas, work with the Business Systems team to assist in the development of quality and risk management tools, and oversee the annual VAS internal audit process.

Urquiza joins CBRE after holding numerous leadership positions with GE Capital Real Estate, including Global Valuation Leader.

Urquiza has accumulated over 30 years of commercial real estate experience including risk management, regulatory relations, business development, financial structuring and analysis, global process management, underwriting, and strategic planning.

She has extensive familiarity with all property types, including office, retail, industrial, golf, timeshare, hospitality, mobile home, and multifamily assets.


Jeffrey Heller, Avison Young Principal and Managing Director of the company’s New Jersey office, announced that data center and telecommunications expert James Cali has joined the firm.
Cali becomes a Principal of Avison Young. Based in New Jersey, he will help lead the firm’s data center and telecommunications practice.

Cali was most recently a senior vice-president at Cushman & Wakefield in New Jersey.
He brings more than 25 years of experience to Avison Young. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, he was a senior vice-president of telecom and technology at DTZ, Cassidy Turley and Equis Corp.
Before entering the commercial real estate industry, he worked for One Equity Partners, Global Crossing, Qwest Communications and Sprint in various executive roles.

Cali holds both a Master of Science degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computer science from State University of New York College at Cortland.


New Jersey public servant Louis Goetting has joined forces with Cushman and Wakefield Executive Vice Chairman Robert Donnelly and his Morristown-based brokerage team to provide strategic consulting and guidance for their growing healthcare real estate services practice in New Jersey.

Goetting, principal of management consulting firm NJ Advisors, is the former deputy chief of staff for Governor Chris Christie.

Goetting led the State’s efforts in the largest University and Healthcare restructuring in the nation, the Rutgers/UMDNJ reorganization, winning recognition from the Bond Buyer for one of the most sophisticated deals of the year.

A significant part of Goetting’s work for Governor Christie involved hospital, healthcare and Medicaid-related issues. His history and current advisory work with healthcare organizations and hospital systems provide him with a distinctive perspective when it comes to budgeting, site selection and facility management.

Previously, Goetting was executive vice president of administration at Brookdale Community College and vice president of administration at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Under the Whitman Administration, he acted as assistant state treasurer and deputy state treasurer. For two decades, he served in municipal government as an administrator in three different New Jersey communities.


Prescriptive Data LLC, a subsidiary of Rudin Management Company, announced the appointment of Aaron Lovejoy as Head of Sales and Business Development.

Lovejoy will work alongside John Gilbert III, acting CEO of Prescriptive Data and COO of Rudin Management, and the company’s Head of Product, Rhea Moss.

Lovejoy most recently served as a commercial account executive for Cisco Systems, Inc., managing complex solution sales engagements within the real estate, healthcare, legal, retail and financial sectors.

Before that, he was the director of global information services at Babson Capital Management, part of the MassMutual Financial Group, and served as President and Owner of Solve-Tech Solutions, LLC, a technical consulting firm working with clients throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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